Updates: January 2013
For further updates on Nutbrown review, see Nubrown tag
Update: 17 October 2012
Update: 19 July 2012
On 19 June, the Prime Minister announced a “commission on childcare to look at how to reduce the costs of childcare for working families and burdens on childcare providers.
“The commission will report in the autumn and is jointly led by Sarah Teather, Minister of State for Children and Families and Maria Miller, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.”It will look at:
- “ways to encourage the provision of wraparound and holiday childcare for children of school age;
- “identifying any regulation that burdens childcare providers unnecessarily because it is not needed for reasons of quality or safety; and
- “how childcare supports families to move into sustained employment and out of poverty”.
The work of the commission will be informed by a call for evidence which will run from 19 July to 31 August 2012.
Parents, early years professionals and others with an interest in childcare are being urged to come forward with their ideas to help improve the accessibility and affordability of childcare.
Do let us know your views either below or direct to firstname.lastname@example.org as they will help to inform Voice’s response to the consultation.
19 June 2012
Voice has commented on the news that the Government is launching a review of childcare and on the Nutbrown Review’s calls for higher qualifications for nursery staff, including increased maths and literacy skills.
Senior Professional Officer (Early Years and Childcare) Tricia Pritchard said:
“It is important that the childcare workforce should be highly qualified and professional they are often the first professionals that young children and their families have contact with. They provide the first experience of formal childcare for children and their families.
“For too long there has been a general perception a misconception that anyone can care for children.
“To ensure that the profession is of the highest quality, the childcare workforce must be qualified. Requiring all those who work with children to hold a relevant qualification will take this forward, but there must be a strong career and salary structure to go with this.
“It is true that there is a serious shortage of quality and affordable childcare and how we pay for this as a society must be fundamental to the Downing Street review. If parents cannot afford to pay the fees that nurseries need to recruit and retain high quality, professional staff, then who will? It seems that a major and sustained investment from the state will be required.
“The early years are crucial to every child’s development and it is essential that we have an early years system that meets the needs of children, families and professionals.
“How can the childcare system deliver, and recruit and retain a skilled and well-trained workforce, in the face of cuts to local authority services and the axe of closure and redundancy that hangs over children’s centres and other early years settings, and the staff who work in them?
“Any extended provision of childcare through longer school opening times must also be of high quality and provide rich and valuable experiences, and not be seen as, or become, somewhere for parents to ‘dump the kids’.
“We will, of course, provide our contributions to both reviews.”
Staff quality and the cost of provision are perhaps the most fundamental challenges facing the early years. They must be maintained. Cutting “red tape” must not mean a cut in standards.
- “Sadly there is still the general perception that anyone can care for children, a perception which we do not and have not ever believed in. The childcare workforce should be highly qualified and professional they are often the first or amongst the first professionals that young children and their families will have experience of. They provide the first experience of formal childcare for children and their families.
- “To ensure that all early years and childcare experience is of the highest quality, providing the best role models, the childcare workforce must be qualified.
- “Requiring all those who work with children to hold a relevant qualification will support this with the general population, but can only be consolidated with a robust career structure which will promote respect from the general public.
- “Stop recruiting childcare workers informally through the playground, require all those working with children to be qualified and registered including nannies. The perception that those who work in domestic premises can fulfil this role without qualification or registration is damaging to the sector workforce and potentially to children too.
- “Make it a requirement that all those working with children and young people are required to have a formal qualification.
- “Raise the earning potential for the early years workforce so to attract a more diverse workforce, including more men.
- “There are not enough men in the workforce, probably because of lack of career structure and salary scale. High academic achievers are often directed to other professions or to teaching because of this.”
In a Blog post in September, we highlighted a survey that found that nearly a quarter of 4,359 UK parents who took part said the cost of childcare had put them in debt. Nearly two-thirds said they could not afford not to work and struggled to pay for childcare.
“It is vital that childcare is properly funded. There are already many pressures forcing the price of nursery places upwards. Nursery staff are currently vastly under paid. If they become better qualified, they will, rightly, demand higher salaries, driving up the fees paid by parents unless greatly increased subsidies are made available.
“If costs aren’t covered, the only area where nursery proprietors can make savings is in staffing costs. This could result in a reduction in the number of staff being employed.
“There must be greater state subsidy of childcare and more free places if we are to address social inequalities, give all children the best possible start in life and enhance the economy by enabling more parents to work full-time or even work at all.
“There has been much debate about how we fund higher education, the benefits or otherwise of a university education and who should pay for it. It’s time we had a debate about how we treat and fund the start of our journey through life and learning the early years.
“If primary and secondary education are provided free, why not early years education and childcare? Isn’t it a question of priorities?”
Do let us know your thoughts